In college, I learned I had been stealing. Not shoplifting. Not downloading music illegally (that wasn’t even really possible with our dial-up internet.) Not even neglecting to claim my tips as a waitress (the computer made us to it.) My senior year of college, I realized I was stealing from the poor.
The more we pursue Christ, the more the devil pursues us. He runs after us, looking for blood. But our Father runs faster, and has already shed every ounce of His blood — so we wouldn’t need to.
As Pope Francis said, to realize this endless love, we must guard our hearts from the devil “just as you protect your home.”
Have you ever had a day where you felt like it would never stop? Test after test, friendship and relationship struggles, projects, practices, games… you get the point. I’ve experienced days like that and they are insanely busy, tiring, and just kind of annoying. Often times I wondered, “What if I just ran from all of it?”
We all fall into that trap of comparing ourselves to one another. How do we stack up against the competition? Whether we’re measuring ourselves against our siblings, classmates, teammates, best friends, or even total strangers like celebrities, we’re constantly sizing up the competition. Where do I rank? Am I as good as he is at __? Am I better than her at __?
If we are to call ourselves Christians, then we must believe that God loves us and would never allow for us to experience suffering without purpose. Therefore, there has to be purpose in the cross of unhappiness. Whether we struggle with depression for months on end or just experience a day lacking fulfillment, perhaps these are opportunities to shine brighter and cling tighter. Perhaps there is purpose in our pain.
The good we see in each other is the evidence that we are God’s creation. If we fail to see that in one another then it’s a simple lack of clarity, not gift. What I notice more than anything even as I write this, is what a necessity it is for us to understand who we are and therefore who were called to be.
After two years and the loss of the use of her legs it became clear that Chiara Luce wouldn’t survive. Despite her pain she refused morphine so that she could remain lucid and offer all her suffering up to Jesus. She encouraged her parents to go out to dinner together, trying to prepare them for life after her death. Paralyzed in her bed, she kept loving.
In October 1990, Chiara Luce died at home. But her story doesn’t end there.
People became so inspired by the life and holiness of this “average” girl that her bishop opened the cause for her sainthood. In September 2010 she was declared “Blessed” (or one step away from becoming a saint) at a ceremony attended by over 25,000 people from 57 countries. Not bad for a small-town girl who never sought fame.
We put on this tough exterior in order to try and hide what is really going on. We try to broadcast something completely different from what’s going on in the inside. We think that if someone knew what we really felt, what we really experienced, what we’ve really done, then we would be cast out. That no one could possibly love us.
This false life of never enough permeates every aspect of our culture. When we pick out what to wear to school we ask, “Will others notice me?” When we step into the locker room to change out for sports we compare our body with that of others. When we get report cards… sports awards… drama or music evaluations… We are never enough. And when we do excel, there’s always some way we can (and “should”) improve.
This never enough culture consumes us with shame. We feel that we are never enough and so we believe that we are not enough.
It was a Saturday night and I was completely alone. I had cash in my pocket and gas in my truck but I had no friends anymore. The phone was not ringing. The silence was a deafening reminder to how ‘sad’ my social life had become in a very short amount of time. This had never happened to me in my previous three years of high school. My senior year was supposed to be epic! Instead it was growing increasingly lonely and there was only one person to blame: Jesus.
Whenever you begin to feel the temptation to sin and you don’t have those accountable people around, have an alternative activity that is your “go to.” You’ll have to do it right away. When you’re tempted to look at someone and judge them, think to yourself, “They are a child of God.” It’s important to train or condition yourself to avoid sin, so you might have to start by making a conscious effort to think that about every single person you see. Maybe you are a musician, and you grab your guitar or your drumsticks.
I’m often faced with a heart that is racing and sweaty palms when I’m sitting in the presence of the Lord because I question if this was right. But just at that moment he whispers “Hey, look at me! I’m right here; don’t run from me I’m not done with you yet.” In that moment of clarity, I stare at Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament I feel all the weight life off my shoulders. This choice I have made is right because it’s exactly what Jesus is asking of me right now.
The word “evangelization” reminds me of a time I was ambushed in a parking lot. One summer afternoon I was sitting in the parking lot of Starbucks with my windows rolled down, ready to pull out. I had my iced coffee, I buckled my seatbelt, turned on my country music, glanced in my rearview mirror […]
Last week, as soon as Mass ended, the sweet little old lady sitting in front of me loudly announced to anyone within earshot that I (apparently) sing off-key. Totally shocked, I responded, “Well, I guess that’s why I’m out here, and not back there in the choir loft.” Listen, lady, I never promised you perfection from the pew behind you.
Life is messy. We’ve got so much to worry about, so many things to juggle at once. And all the while an intimidating little beast called “the future” keeps knocking at our door, reminding us of all the things we’ve got to do right… or else.
I think somewhere along the way, we all lose sight of what matters. We become more intrigued by the words on a screen than by the words in our Bible. We become more concerned about the relationships we have with people around us than with the One who created us.
Your faith isn’t your Mom and Dad’s thing anymore. If you have questions, search for the answers, I promise you they’re there! It’s up to you to respond to the invitation from Christ to draw nearer to Him. College can be one of the most spiritually transformative times in your life. If you give these next four years to Christ, He’s going to give you back more than you ever dreamed of receiving.
The reason behind my anxiety was that of a former soldier. It was just in 2011 I was on a patrol in Afghanistan. With our armored vehicles pinned between a high flowing river and a road that had just given out. We had dismounted to set perimeters on the heights around us as well as check the layout. But none the less, we were sitting ducks and this was a perfect place for an ambush. The ride there had already shot my nerves. We had gotten Intel that the Taliban had been very present there as well as the road side bombs that accompanied them.
This summer I had the opportunity to go to Campobasso, Italy as the youth ambassador and representative for the United States, to meeting of Italian immigrant descendants from the Italian region of Molise. I was excited to learn about my heritage, but I became ecstatic when I learned Pope Francis would be in Campobasso during […]
If you are a sinner like me, you sin all the time. This calls for continuous conversion or continually turning your heart away from sin and toward God. St. John Paul The Great says “We ourselves are to be converted anew every day.” So here are three simple steps to help your continual growth and conversion toward Christ.
The other day, my youth minister threw my phone out of a (moving) car window. It was his way of teaching me to be “in the world but not of it.” He’s a tough-luck kind of guy. Just kidding. He did throw my phone out the window, but it was an accident. I was shocked. […]